Bullpups Suffer First Loss In Mid-America Classic Finals, 44-37



Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.

Photo Credit: Wilson Photography

1st 2nd 3rd 4th F

McP    5  14  5  17   44

SMNW 14  8  4  14  37

Two of the state’s top high schools clashed in the grand finale of the 25th annual Mid-America Classic. Unfortunately, the McPherson High School girls basketball team fell short to Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, 44-37.  The Bullpups received their first loss of the season at 12-1.

The game was physical and both teams put their bodies on the line that even the officiating crew let the girls play with contact. McPherson had a hard time getting on the board early on. The Cougars have defended the three well, and they set the tone with a 7-0 run.

“I knew they were going to be so solid defensively in the half-court that it was going to be tough for us to score for some stretches,” Head Coach Chris Strathman said.

The Lady Pups also got into some foul trouble early from Grace Pyle and Cassie Cooks, in which they couldn’t afford.  The panic button came early than expected when the Bullpups trail 14-5 by the end of the first.

“We were really nervous to start the game as you can tell. Some telegraph passes and some shots that were layoffs,” Strathman said. “Once we settled in, we made a nice comeback and honestly it was a great game by halftime and the rest of the time through.”

Kennedy Taylor was a terror inside and the Bullpups did everything necessary to put a body on her. The junior was already on pace for another double-double performance when she dropped 14 points and eight rebounds in the first half.

The second quarter belonged to the Bullpups as they outscored the Cougars 14-8. Pyle had McPherson trailing by single digits after knocking back-to-back triples which set up a 7-0 run. Shawnee Mission Northwest only made one three-point basket The Bullpups were down 22-19 at halftime. 

Grace Pyle attacks the basket over Kennedy Taylor of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. Pyle led with 16 points and 14 rebounds in loss 44-37 to Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Mid-America Classic finals on Saturday, Feb. 1 [Wilson Photography]
Pyle tied the game at 22 apiece two minutes into the third quarter, and the Bullpups captured their first lead of the night but only by one, 23-22 at the 3:29 mark. Both teams were exchanging buckets but four points were made. Shawnee Mission Northwest was able to put up five points in the final seconds as they were ahead 27-23.

The Bullpups went scoreless in the last six minutes of play in the third, going into the fourth quarter. With 3:47 left in the fourth, the Cougars were ahead 36-31. Taylor made a couple daggers in the final minute of the game. The Bullpups weren’t able to make their buckets when they needed and forced to put the Cougars at the line.

Pyle recorded her third straight double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. She was the only in double figures for the Bullpups.  Cooks was the second-leading scorer with eight points and added eight rebounds. Tayor also had a double-double performance with 21 points and 18 rebounds.

“I told the girls after the game that this team is a near image of the type of team that we have to get where we want to go.”

The Bullpups fall to 12-1 on the season. They will resume the regular season as they will face Wichita Collegiate High School on the road on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

Final Stats

McPherson:  Pyle 16 pts., Cook 8 pts., Ruddle 6 pts., Beam 4 pts., Schieferecke 3 pts.

SM Northwest: Taylor 21 pts., Elfrink 9 pts., Harris-Webster 7 pts., Grampass 6 pts., Dunn 1 pts.

All-Tournament Team (Selected by the head coaches)

Kennedy Taylor, SM Northwest

Kassidy Beam, McPherson

Dani Winslow, Olathe South

Grace Pyle, McPherson

Ali Zeka, Wellington

Final Standings

  1. Shawnee Mission Northwest
  2. McPherson
  3. Olathe South
  4. Wellington
  5. Shawnee Mission South
  6. Wichita Northwest
  7. Manhattan
  8. Ulysses



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